The 19th May, 2017 marks the 100th birth anniversary of H.H The 19th Bakula Rinpoche. In honour of his extraordinary accomplishments in this lifetime; a celebration will be held at Leh Pologround which will draw devoted Buddhist followers and local Tibetans alike.
This joyous occasion will include various events that will encourage the happy and harmonious participation of all who attend. Among these activities are running marathons, football matches, painting and archery competitions as well as the planting of trees in support of the Clean Ladakh Movement.
The ongoing competitions that begin on this occasion in the different villages of Ladakh will continue for a whole year, and culminate in a closing ceremony to be held on the 19th, May 2018 in Spituk village.
A beautifully presented photo exhibition detailing the life of the 19th bakula Rinpoche will also be available for viewing in Nastsn Lakhang Spituk monastery school on the 19th May.
The 19th incarnation of Arahat Bakula was Thupstan Chognor; born on 19th of May 1917 into a royal family in Matho village, Ladakh. He was recognized by H.H The 13th Dalai Lama as the reincarnation of Arahat Bakula; the 16th Arahat(NastanChutuk).He traveled to Lhasa(Tibet) at the age of 13 and received his education at the great Drepung monastery which was the largest monastic institution in Tibet. There he was awarded the degree of Geshe Larampa(the highest degree in Buddhist metaphysics) at the age of 25 and received his geshe ordination from the 13th Dalai Lama. After returning from Tibet he dedicated his life to serving the people of Ladakh in hopes of creating a better future. In the very first democratic elections in Ladakh in 1949 the people of Ladakh had elected Bakula Rinpochey as their leader and the president of the National Conference Party. He served as Minister of State in J&K State Government from 1953 to 1967. He was the member of the fourth and the fifth LokSabha from 1967 to 1977.
He also served as a member of the consultative Committees in Indian Parliament for defense, education and planning. His role in education was unforgettable and under his guidance the then Ladakh Buddhist Association and Gonpa association was able to establish the Buddhist philosophy school on 23rd October 1959(now CIBS) with only ten students.
In 1949 again with the tireless efforts of Bakula Rinpochey the Government of India sanctioned scholarships for eighteen Ladakhi novices to obtain modern education at Sarnath, and in 1961 another five young monks were sent to study Buddhism in Sri Lanka. In 1963; with his efforts the Ladakh Institute of Higher Studies was established in Delhi with students from various Himalayan regions such as Himachal Pradesh, Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Mezoram etc. The school was government recognized and scholarships were sanctioned to the students. Bakula Rinpochey, during his last years also put pressure on the government of J and K for the need of a university in Ladagave. The then (2003) C.M of J and K Mr. Mufti Mohammad Syeed during one of his personal visit at Samkar monastery told Bakula Rinpochey that steps had been taken to set up a new university campus in Leh. In 1968 Bakula Rinpochey was elected unopposed to represent Ladakh in the National Parliament in New Delhi.
On August 7,1978,BakulaRinpochey was appointed member of the first Commission on Minorities and served till December 11, 1989. Then from 1990 till 2000 he served as an Indian Ambassador to Mongolia. In year 1986 BakulaRinpochey was awarded by a prestigious Padma Bushan.
He passed away on 4th nov-2003 in New Delhi.